PENNY ARCADE EXPO (PAX)!!!
PAX!!! An experience I’ve been waiting on for nearly 10 years. Two of my best friends went when we were in high school as kind of a graduation present and I assure you I was happy and jealous at the same time. In the mid 2000s, it became a goal of mine to go to PAX one day and play all of the games.
As of Sept 2016, I can now travel back in time (once I learn time travel) and tell teenage Emmanuel that his goal has been fulfilled and close out with an epic fist bump. Joining up with the NPC Collective and Death*Star, we brought and weekend full of jams, hilarious (and some serious) panels.
Headed to the convention early Friday obviously to scope out the area, grab some grub and develop a game plan after picking up our badges. Because we all have no attention span and because I’m a huge Destiny addict, we ended up splitting up to go do our own things and explore for day one. Word to the wise, if you have the same cell provider as like 70% of the attendees (*Cough* Verizon) you may want to bring walkie talkies because you’re going to have a difficult time connecting to send messages over said network.
Destiny – I played that beta at the Bungie booth like 10 times. It was only a multiplayer map but man it felt good to use the Gjallarhorn again. ESPECIALLY due to the fact that I got mine in year one like two days before Xur finally decided to sell it
* Side tangent I started getting hit up on twitter by a bunch of random people because I had my tagline listed as “1UP @ PAX West” asking me for Union of Light Emblem Codes. I started just giving them out at random to people who were liking a photo I posted and gave a couple out in a random grand giveaway. Heads up… DON’T do that … It’s super aggravating when 100 + people are messaging you sob stories (some being spam accounts) about why you should stand in line for 45 minutes to get them a code for an emblem. *
But back to Destiny. There wasn’t a huge amount of the story revealed this weekend just by playing the multiplayer beta but it was still a lot of fun. Bare minimum I was able to test out a couple of maps and judge the character balancing as far as super negations went. I made it a point to play on the Warlock, Titan and Hunter to get a feel for the potential tweaks. I can say I didn’t notice a huge difference in the multiplayer mode other than hand cannons seemed pretty powerful in comparison to the Taken King (even more than the July damage buff). But then again I could have just been playing against some folks who were super good with hand cannons (ಠ◡ಠ)
** Other side tangent, Super Soul Bros were there playing right by the booth so it gave some awesome music to destroy folks to. Haven’t seen them since MAGFest so it was really good to get them back in the earholes. **
*** Double other side tangent. Spent too much monies at the Bungie store T_T #worthit ***
Rivals of Aether – This was actually introduced to me at Otakon by Trailer Drake. We played a few rounds in the hotel room a couple of days but I ended up forgetting the name of it until I walked up to the 6th floor (which housed most of the indie games). All I know is:
- It was super fun
- I played probably 20 + matches
- I’m super addicted now and have to Boot Camp my Macbook now because I bought it anyway lol
If you haven’t checked it out, it plays a lot like Smash Bros Melee (SSMB) which IMO was the best one, but it’s all more pixel type 2D character designs. When I say it plays a lot like SSBM, I mean it even plays as fluid as SSBM (if not more fluid). Right now the game is still in early access but you can still purchase it and play, but it’s going to have releases and updates pushed to us until the game is complete. I still think that the playability factor is super high even in beta and TOTALLY worth the money. There were a lot of fighting games on the floor that attempted to emulate the SSBM style but were kind of clunky and not really all that enjoyable so it was nice to be able to come back to Rivals for a refresh.
Virtual Reality Demos – Even though I was there all four days, I actually never jumped into any of the Virtual Reality (VR) demo lines because I hate lines and yeah… I hate lines. I spent a lot more time observing people in all hilarity with their headsets on playing different games. PlayStation had quite a few set areas up with close observation range where you could see the participant and the television display of what they were seeing in their VR headsets. I’m sure even if there were ear buds in they could hear the laughter of joy coming from the crowds. It definitely put the idea and desire of picking up a set for myself, buttttt maybe on second iteration so I don’t have to deal with bugs and issues associated with early adoption syndrome. ^.^
I know that a few of my fellow NPCC squad attempted to get tickets for the Resident Evil VR experience. Which basically handed out all of the daily allotment of tickets within 30 minutes of the convention opening. I looked at that line once and was like “Nope.”
Other Stuff – To be honest the stuff mentioned above is what I spent a majority of my time on when it came to gaming. I strolled around a couple of days with Ohm-I and Kadesh Flow to try some games like Elder Scrolls Legends, Classic Gaming Room, Tekken 7, and got some serious education on Trove from Twixler. I will probably end up diving into that game as well soon and destroying my spare time life lol. Oh and Atlas Reactor haha! Ohm-I taught me a few things about that game since he’s like a celebrity there, although I didn’t want to get wrecked playing in front of people so I passed. Link here.
Even though I didn’t get wrecked Ohm-I caught these feet during Dance Dance Revolution T.T (for your viewing entertainment).
MUSIC AND PANELS
NPCC MOB – Saturday was a ball. We played an epic game of rap tag and blasted dopeness to the earholes with Death*Star at the LoFi venue a couple of miles from the convention center. If you haven’t been to an NPCC Mob event it’s pretty hilarious and MAD fun. I don’t mean to toot our horns but… TOOT TOOOT! We basically have a drink or two, pass the mic after a couple of songs and catch our breath something serious (◡‿◡✿). I bumped into Murs for a hot minute at the event before he had to bounce and the universe can be at peace as he is as chill as we all imagine and hope. Instead of writing a bunch about the show I will just share some pics from our wonderful photographer Sayed :
In addition to Saturday’s show, we fortunate enough to put down a quick set on Friday at one of our homie Mark’s shows and we were sprinkled in through some panels from Friday to Monday (Nerdcore Hip Hop Panel, One Fandom To Rule Them All, Business In Music and Code to Cardboard: How to Draw Digital Addicts to Tabletop) which ranged from fun debauchery to serious and informative with game creators all the way up to the grandfather of Nerdcore MC Frontalot. I will say that it is one thing to go to something celebrating the culture that you genuinely enjoy, but it’s a great feeling to be able to contribute to that thing you love. Much love to C0splay for the epic team up and making 17 and 28 year old 1-UP super happy.
So obviously we are at the end meaning it’s time for the unnecessary but usual ranking of the convention.
PAX West gets a 10/10 from me!
Reasons being: Even though there were lines (and I can’t subtract for this because every con and expo has lines), it was extremely well put together. The content was obviously right up my alley 100% so I’m going to be a little biased but it just felt a lot more like a “Hey, we are adults and are here to enjoy the Expo” versus a few that I have been to (and I’m going to sound old for this) where people are like acting an extreme fool in the con exhibit hall. Don’t get me wrong I love to party but I also like to be in the mind to enjoy the thing I traveled to enjoy, and while everyone enjoys the world differently I just appreciated the mature nature in which the attendees immersed themselves in PAX West.
Thoughts from Kadesh Flow:
This was my second PAX West trip. It was much better than the first (not that the first was bad), as I was able to engage in more gameplay and attend more panels. The Lo-Fi show was the highlight of the trip. First, I’m still stoked to play a PAX after party. Heck I’m glad to just have chances to go to the convention! But playing an after party? Awesome!More importantly, rocking with homies from Death*Star and my NPCC family is always priceless. 1-Up, Shubzilla, Ohm-I, and I employed a highly effective strategy of running round robin for about two hours. The energy level remained super high, and everyone maintained a fresh and consistent energy as a result.
The biggest shock of the trip was Murs (yes, Murs) coming to the show and clearly enjoying himself. I looked out at him while we were on stage, and he was smiling, vibing out, and filming us!!!! Murs was filming our set! In a packed house. It was a great night and a great trip.
P.S. If you’re wondering where the links are to the things I mentioned before, scroll up… I hyperlink everything